Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Prayers and encouragement

For the people in the path of Sandy. May God hold them in His hand and keep them and their loved ones safe from harm. Amen

So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you're already doing. 1 Thes 5:11

Aaaa- vay Maaaa - reeee -aaa

Photo Credit: Angus Hedges

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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Children of Africa

Two little girls show me their pretty dresses in their mother's shop in Shinyanga last week

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Monday, October 29, 2012

For Aunty Kay and Lindy of Alberta

Hello Aunty Kay and Lindy:
I read in my mum's post yesterday that you missed seeing me so I asked her to post a photo of me on the cat tree. It was nighttime and I got the prime spot - the very top! 

I'm the king of the castle Nyaah Nyaah! 

Hope you are all well and happy. Purrs from Shadow, Tanzania

How to tell the difference...

Girl on swing

 Boy on swing

Photo credits: Angus Hedges

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Cat tree in constant use

Hi Bozo, this is me, Ginger, on the first deck/level of the cat tree our yoomens built for us.Ambrose is sleeping in the top bunk. Shadow is somewhere below us - note how I'm watching him !

We hope you're doing well at your place which my mum is linking to here

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Birds in Tanzania

For those readers who've been following my blog since before I moved to Tanzania, you will probably remember the many posts I had with dozens of birds seen in Kenya. Since we've been in Tanzania, although Grant and I go out birding regularly once a week, the situation and environment is just not the same. Whereas previously we lived in the Eastern Highlands of Kenya in the Great Rift Valley, here we live in a much drier and flatter countryside. However, I have taken many photos which I've posted periodically. 

Last Saturday, Grant phoned me from the office and asked if I'd like to take a ride through the mine with him. Of course I said yes, and within a few minutes he'd collected me armed with binoculars and camera. As it was mid-morning, we didn't expect to see much  but for it was a welcome break and good quality time together.

Towards the end of our drive, we had to pass a wetland area where we often spot many waterbirds. Grant slowed down and we weren't disappointed. I managed to snap several photos of a heron which sat quietly on a dry branch in a patch of water.

Grey Heron

Back home in my garden the birds are visiting my new enclosed shamba/garden where I've sunk two small ponds, planted various shrubs and flowers and also distribute bird seed. 

While I see a variety of sparrows, Red-cheeked Cordon-Bleu, Spotted Palm Thrush and Black-headed Weavers, I normally only hear the Love-birds calling from the trees in my larger garden. Last week I wandered outside with my camera and  photographed this colorful bird while it feasted on fruit/pods above me.
Yellow-collared Lovebird

The Yellow-collared Lovebird occurs naturally in Northwestern Tanzania (where we live) but was introduced to Kenya where it hybridizes with Fischer's Lovebirds.

 This morning I'm off to my pottery classes after which Amanda and I will pop over to the pool for a refreshing dip!

I hope you're all having a wonderful weekend.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Blue skies and swimming

Yesterday while I sat in the garden with the three cats, I lifted my camera to the skies and snapped this

In the morning, I spent a fruitful and productive hour doing pottery with friends Tilla and Amanda. Amanda and I arranged to meet at the pool later in the afternoon. (Tilla finds the water too cold, and opted out)
 The skies were slightly overcast by the time we met for a swim, but the water was divine. Of course, we chatted non-stop too!

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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Pottery in Mwadui

On Tuesday I learned the first part of how pottery items are fired / baked. When I arrived, Amanda and Tilla were already selecting the stuff for the process.

I had one flat serving plate ready and also a small dish which I'd painted for Sonja a couple of weeks ago. Soon I was waiting my turn at the glaze bucket, submerging the objects, counting one-thousand-and-one; one-thousand-and-two; one-thousand-and-three and removing it out to place on the table in the sun!

Amanda removing a plate after immersing it into the bucket of glaze

Tilla, right, holds a damp sponge with which to wipe off surplice glaze on her plates while Amanda dunks another into the glaze. The oval serving plate at the bottom of the photo is mine
Dishes bowls, spoon rests and plates are placed in layers in the oven/kiln. These are my two items (well, the round bowl is one I completed for Sonja) ready to be baked

Today I collected and brought home the little dish I'd completed for Sonja. I'm hoping that her stepson, Marnitz will take it home to SA for her next month! 

All in all this is still a great learning curve with me making quite a lot of mistakes! Amanda is a wonderful teacher and after our strenuous morning in the pottery shed, we've decided to meet later at the pool.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A true prophecy

Photo Credit: John Hedges

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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Entertaining with Potjiekos

Potjiekos, (pronounced poy-kee-coss) is endemic to South Africa. You can read all about it here.

This weekend I gave the Guest House staff which meant we ate at home. Marnitz, the young production manager who lives in a cottage behind our house asked if we could have an oxtail "potjie" for Sunday lunch. As this means cooking the food in a three-legged black [cast iron] pot over a fire, I did it outside . Marnitz helped me. 

Grant invited Amanda, Andre and Rob and Nsia to join us for lunch. Rice and salad accompanied the meat A great time was had by all.

 Marnitz at his "potjie" / small pot . The black pot on the right was a vegetable potjie. I used the aluminum one in the foreground to keep the rice warm. (this type of pot is not the correct one and tends to burn the food)
A close-up of the delicious oxtail potjie
The idea of having potjiekos is to socialize around the pot and fire this is something which South Africans are very good at!

 As I focused my camera at the people, Rob said: "Tomorrow we all appear on Jo's blog" Too true! 

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Monday, October 22, 2012

My dad

Today - had he lived - would have been my dad's 93rd birthday. I will never forget the day my dad died: 11 September 2000; exactly one year before 9/11. So my dad has been gone these past twelve years. However, I didn't want to commemorate his death rather his life which was celebrated on this day: 22 October.

My dad was six foot one, slender and one of the most handsome men ever. Although he was big, he was a gentle soul. I cannot recall receiving a single hiding/spanking from him in my life! 

During WWII, my dad fought in Italy and it was here that he became friendly with a man called Ernest Kapp from Durban, South Africa who, incidentally was my mom's dad! After the war, when these two men disembarked, my mom and my grandmother were waiting on the quay to welcome my grandfather. Ernest introduced my dad to my mom and the rest is history.

Strangely, my mom's family referred to my dad as Punter, although he never gambled!  As children, we used to giggle uncontrollably whenever we visited this side of the family. We knew my dad's name was Andries (the Afrikaans version of Andrew) and not Punter!
   My dad and mom on their wedding day in 1947; and on their 50th wedding anniversary in 1997

My dad was an only child and his only extended family were two cousins, Joyce and Joan, who were identical twins. 

 My dad, with his only cousins, Joyce on his right and Joan to his left

My mom didn't last long after my dad's passing. In fact, she died 16 months later on their wedding anniversary in 2002. They would have been married 55 years that day. 

Often when our granddaughter, Eryn visited me at home in Marquard, I'd talk to her about my mom and dad. I still have special glasses which my mom had bought me and I'd say to Eryn : "Would you like to drink your milk from my mother's glass?" She always said yes, but she also asked me where my mother was. And I'd try to explain death to a two-,three-and four-year old.

After a weekend which John, Debbie, Eryn, Joshua and I had spent on a Guest Farm in Kwa-Zulu Natal, in 2007, we decided to stop off in Estcourt and visit my parents' graves. Eryn, who was almost five, was most excited when I told her we would be visiting the place where my mother and father had been laid to rest! 

Of course, I had my camera and we used the opportunity to take family photos at the memorial of two very special people in our lives. At first Eryn was very solemn but later she found little wild flowers with which to decorate her Gran's mother and father's graves.   BTW Estcourt Cemetery is very neat. There are no built-up graves. You have a gravestone (headstone) on your grave and the rest is lawn. My parents are buried head-to-head.
 Eryn, John and I behind my dad's gravestone. Note the date of his death: 11.09.2000

 Debbie, John and Eryn pose behind my mom's gravestone which is the reverse of my dad's

Eryn and I at my mom's gravestone

 Eryn had gathered a bunch of wild flowers and soon was filling the vases built into my parent's headstone

My dad was a God-fearing man who loved and cared exclusively for his wife and children, and later his nine grandchildren. From his 18th birthday, when he was confirmed and accepted into the Dutch Reformed Church, until his death 63 years, later my dad served, first as deacon and later as an elder.

To me, the following Scripture describes my dad perfectly:

"An elder must be a man whose life cannot be spoken against. He must be faithful to his wife. He must exhibit self-control , live wisely and have a good reputation. He must enjoy having guests in his house and be able to teach. He must not be a heavy drinker or be violent. He must be gentle, peace-loving and not one who loves money. He must manage his own family well with children who respect and obey him. For if a man cannot handle his own household, how can he take care of God's church?" 1 Tim 3:2-5

May you continue to rest in peace, Daddy! 

I wish you all a wonderful week ahead.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

On guard

It's a good thing my mum's got me to guard her clothes...

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Saturday, October 20, 2012

Welcome little Reuben

I've posted about Salome before. She works at the Guest House as one of the Cooka's (chefs) and also does the laundry and ironing for the men. In July she proudly announced that she was pregnant; her first baby. Now, Salome is a tall, thin,young woman but within weeks of finding out she was expecting, her   uniform changed for loose-fitting shifts and a few weeks after that she was wearing final semester maternity dresses. 

When I returned from leave at the end of September, Salome was positively glowing and literally waddling around. She was on light duties, continuing to iron but sitting down at the table. The rest of the staff rallied around to make things easier for her which I found very touching. 

By now Salome had already found out that she was carrying a boy so I asked her if she had a name for him yet. She just laughed and said she and her husband, Isaac had not yet discussed it. In view of her and her husband's Biblical names, I suggested she call the baby Reuben.

Last Wednesday Salome went to the doctor for her final check up. He booked her off for the rest of the week and scheduled her for a Caesarian Section if her baby hadn't arrived by the weekend. At lunchtime on Monday, the 15th of October, Pendo told me that Salome had had a son by "oplation"(operation)

On Tuesday afternoon, Tilla and I drove to the hospital to see mother and baby. While in SA I'd bought a layette for this little one and although I couldn't see too much of the tightly wrapped child, I noticed that he was wearing a teeny yellow tee-shirt from the collection.

Salome's sister was holding the baby when we arrived and as Tilla and I said afterwards, she's going to be of invaluable help to Salome in the first weeks back home.  She obviously has children of her own as she was most confident while handling the little one. Salome looked a little shell-shocked (she told me it's the first time in her life that she's had surgery) and deserves the three-month maternity leave she's entitled to in this company.

When I asked the baby's name, Salome said: his name is Reuben! 
Salome with her newborn baby, Reuben

Little Reuben had quite a yellow pallor but is perfect in every way

Dada/sister proudly showing her brand new nephew. I took a handmade-by-Amanda teddy as a gift for the little lad

 Bibi/Grandmother (me!) with her latest mjukuu/grandchild! 

I hope you're all looking forward to a wonderful weekend and have a really great one.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Blue Skies over Tanzania

A lane of Coral Trees in flower topped by the beautiful African sky

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Many thanks to all who have sent messages and comments and for praying for two of our dear sweet grandchildren who are ill this week.  Both Abby and Joel are responding well to the physio therapy. Joel still looks a little droopy eyed and feverish to me, but Angus says he is cheerful and managed to eat a little today. Abby is assisting her parents by being a most well-behaved little girl. Sweetie pie! 
 Abby listens to music on a set of earphones. I love her bib which says: Do not disturb; up late last night! 
 Joel, although still "not himself" is smiling and has had a bite to eat as well

Thanks again to all for their care, concern and prayers. 



Thursday, October 18, 2012

Distance and Gran's heartache

Thanks to all who commented on my Wordless Wednesday post yesterday.  The little boy on the wardrobe in that picture (Joel) is our fourth grandchild, brother to seven-month-old Abby. Joel is the oldest child of our younger son, Angus and daughter-in-law, Amanda.

Abby, on being admitted to hospital on Tuesday

Abby washing down the oral medication with her evening meal

At the moment  both Joel and Abby are in hospital in Bloemfontein. They both have bronchial pneumonia; on Wednesday morning, Abby seems to have rallied and is on the mend, 
 On Wednesday morning, Abby seemed to have bounced back to her joyful self
Little Joel on Tuesday evening after the first medication had been administered by drip
He had a restless night, the effects of which were visible in those droopy eyes the next morning 

Joel, sleeping after physio yesterday afternoon

but poor little Joel still has a raging fever and not at all well. Antibiotics  are being administered through a drip which is inserted into his hand. Poor little mite. Angus and Amanda spent the last two nights sleeping sitting up on Lazy Boys in the private ward. Amanda's parents and sister join them throughout the day to offer up prayers and provide a support for all.

Of course, Grant and I are worried about the little ones, but living so far away, all we can do (and are doing) is to lift the children up to the Lord for complete healing. 

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
the fruit of the womb a reward.  

Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth. 
 Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them!
He shall not be put to shame
when he speaks with his enemies in the gate. Psalm 127 3-5



Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Little boys and shoes

I looked everywhere, Mom and they're gone!Photo Credit: Angus Hedges

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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A new garden and a beautful, established garden

Those readers who have followed my blog when I lived in South Africa and Kenya, will remember that I am a keen gardener. Ironically, I sold my garden in South Africa (to our neighbor) only weeks before we surprisingly took up expat life again in East Africa.
 A collage of my garden in South Africa

A few weeks after my arrival in Keirio Valley (one of the most beautiful places we've ever lived) I revamped with the help of Stanley my wonderful Kenyan gardener,  the existing garden. I changed it from a totally exotic garden to a primarily indigenous one.  
 Our house and garden in Keirio Valley, in Kenya 

No sooner was I satisfied with the results and we were enjoying our "new" garden that Grant accepted a position in Northern Tanzania and we moved here. The garden surrounding our house is huge and well-kept by Edward, the askari.  I had no desire to change anything in it. 

Four months ago I asked Grant to enclose the area at the back of our house to create a secure place for our cats to enjoy going outdoors without being terrorized by the resident dogs. Grant and I spend the evenings there with them; we also sometimes entertain friends in our "new" shamba/ garden. Sitting there in the beginning, I knew I'd be changing the sandy and boring surroundings into a garden. And I'm busy doing that now. It's still a far way from being a lush garden but it is already streets ahead of the dusty, dry area it was before. 
Our garden :"Before".  Ginger surveying the barren grounds of our enclosed shamba!

Once Mataluma had prepared the area with new soil and compost (which I'd started in the Guest House garden), Edward and I walked to the client compound. Tilla and Amanda had promised me any plants as soon as I needed them.We loaded a cardboard box with ample shrubs, ferns, succulents and ground cover and came home to plant it.

WIP: first plantings from Tilla and Amanda's garden

Amanda also gave me a packet of lawn seed which I sowed in a prepared area on the opposite side. As it was mid-August, the wet season had not yet started but, believe it or not, that night we had a good shower of rain. (BTW we never saw another shower until two days ago!) Within days the seeds had sprouted like the proverbial hairs on the back of a proverbial dog!
Shadow inspects the new lawn in their enclosed garden
Ginger exploring between the shrubs which had perked up and established themselves in no time at all, after the unexpected shower of rain

I also sowed a packet of birdseed randomly between the shrubs.

Ambrose sniffs at the new bird seed which sprouted within days. Cats love need greens and our three regularly chew on grass stalks

I posted a similar photo on Sunday where the cats are prowling in the jungle of birdseed grass! Here Shadow and Ginger nibble on the grass

Last week Amanda and I visited friends, Rob and Ntsia to see Rob's garden and to chat/play with January, Ntsia's eight-year-old nephew. We also took along Edward Askari who helps me in my new garden.  
Above is a quiet corner to sit and enjoy a soda while taking in the beauty around you
 Amanda showing January photos of her family on her phone. This little lad is well cared for, has perfect manners and speaks beautiful English

I took a stroll through Rob's garden. What a delight; a lush, cool paradise with bird feeders and rock pools of water which attract birds, butterflies, lizards and all manner of other interesting wildlife. (Rob tells us that hedgehogs have started to visit his garden so he's putting out feed for them as well) 

Of course, as all good gardeners do, Rob offered me cuttings and plants of whatever I wanted. Soon his gardener had found a box and between him, Rob and Edward, was filling it for me.
Rob shows the men to remove plants for me to take home
Now this is a garden! 

There are many old trees in Rob's garden which add to the established feel of the whole place. A creation of a massive rock garden (above) crowded with aloes and succulents makes an impressive statement as you drive through the gate.

Back home again, Edward, Mataluma and I planted everything that we'd brought from Rob. We've had two spring showers already, so these plants are all growing enthusiastically in their new garden. 

Watch this space...

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